Hi Reddit, we are Crystal Alba and Lindsay Vanderhoogt, whistleblowers who were sued by the Humane Society of the United States after we went public with detailed information about the lack of adequate veterinary care and the dismal living conditions that 79 (now only 77) former laboratory chimps were being subjected to at Project Chimps sanctuary in Georgia. This is a facility for retired research chimps, controlled and funded by the Humane Society of the United States. The sanctuary director is a full time HSUS employee. Proof

The lawsuit was later dropped after public backlash and we are still trying to raise awareness of poor conditions at the sanctuary and the attempts from HSUS to silence us. They even tried to have our AMA banned! We fully expect them to troll us in the comments but it’s nothing new for us.

Brief summary

These former research chimps spent their lives in biomedical research facilities. Project Chimps/HSUS made a deal with the research lab to accept these chimps (for a FEE!) and promised that they would provide the lifelong care and retirement that these chimps deserved. But PC/HSUS has failed, the chimps only have outdoor access for a few hours a week, enrichment is lacking, and they are confined to overcrowded dark concrete buildings for most of their days. Up until the whistleblowers went public, vet care was provided by a local small animal vet with no primate experience. As a result, infected wounds and critical parasite infections became common. A chimp got her teeth smashed in and was left with broken tooth fragments hanging from her mouth that she had to pull out on her own with no medical treatment. Many chimps have been at the sanctuary for 5 years and have yet to have a physical exam.

We spent years making internal complaints about poor care and documenting everything. Complaints were made to direct supervisors to start and eventually, over the course of 2018, ended with a complaint to the Board of Directors. After that proved fruitless, we went to the accrediting organization and OSHA. OSHA fined the sanctuary for multiple serious safety violations. In an attempt to pretend to take action, HSUS conducted an “Internal Investigation” that also went nowhere. The accrediting body quietly required the sanctuary to make changes here and there that ultimately backed up the whistleblower claims, while maintaining publicly that we were lying. Crystal was ultimately fired for making complaints to serve as a warning to other whistleblowers. She had been at the facility for 3 years, was promoted twice, and had no prior disciplinary actions. Lindsay had been forced to resign in 2018.

Prior to that, the original sanctuary manager was fired for whistleblowing in 2016 and the original veterinarian and assistant veterinarian (both with chimpanzee experience) were forced to resign for whistleblowing. At that time, HSUS was just a financial supporter but had slowly been gaining a board majority. Now they run the sanctuary and things have drastically declined

There's been a National Geographic article (they were also threatened with a lawsuit), primate experts and veterinarians who've backed up our concerns, and two chimp deaths since we started begging publicly for an intervention. The BoD at the sanctuary mostly consists of celebrities and HSUS employees. Judy Greer and Amber Nash are board members. Rachael Ray and Bill Maher are financial supporters.

We now have support from multiple grassroots animal welfare organizations who continue to help us spread the word and try to get HSUS to make meaningful changes in leadership at the sanctuary. The current leadership staff has no one with chimpanzee experience in charge of caring for 77 chimpanzees. All of this has to change.

Whistleblower Facebook Page

Statement of from the Nonhuman Rights Project, Supporting Whistleblowers and calling on Project Chimps to make Changes

Whistleblower Website

EDIT - just want to say that we got a message saying there’s hits out for us on the dark web. Surprised? No. Not at all.

Comments: 606 • Responses: 104  • Date: 

Gravity_Beetle547 karma


I am keeping everything I wrote below, and I still stand by the fact that I think this activity appeared fishy. That being said, I don't think people should jump to the conclusion that the fishiness = some kind of corporate conspiracy. There is another plausible explanation for what we are seeing. Something like this:

Once upon a time, OP posted on a public FB page that they would be hosting an AMA. The FB page already had 400+ followers, and the post was made on March 7, shortly before the AMA went live.

At that time, a small bunch of well-meaning but perhaps misguided members of the FB group -- some of whom were colleagues of OP -- saw the AMA announcement and began posting slowball, talking-point questions in the comments to help OP give strong answers. This would explain why they all signed up on the same day: because the FB announcement didn't exist before that point. These were just non-redditor FB users who wanted to help their cause. The reason they started commenting so much was indeed to try and promote activity on the thread and, yes, push their own narrative. Perhaps they did not think of this as manipulation or that it would hurt anyone, and did not see the need to disclose their connection with OP.

We redditors of course noticed the pattern in account creation dates, the flood of closely aligned comments, and the undisclosed connections between the accounts, and (I think reasonably) interpreted this as underhanded behavior, because frankly it fits the MO. But it's entirely possible that this was just a bunch of well-meaning advocates who just failed to be transparent enough in their enthusiastic attempts to promote a good cause.

We should be careful not to extrapolate or jump to conclusions -- just because the accounts are connected and pushing a narrative, it does not automatically mean that narrative is malicious or that these are bad actors. It could be explained by simple over-enthusiasm, well-meaning but disingenuous tactics, and naivete regarding how reddit works.

I'm stepping away from this for now. Please consider all angles for the sake of what is potentially a very good cause.

(Original post starts here)

So check it out. At the time of this writing, there are 322 comments in this thread.

u/Kareemadvocate account created 3/7/2021, 17 comments in this thread, 1 in this deleted thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/DonnyMoss account created 3/4/2021, 11 comments in this thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/FrankieGrrl account created 3/7/2021, 11 comments in this thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/markbenero account created 3/7/2021, 3 comments in this thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/scripsher account created 3/2/2021, 1 comments in this thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/Gryphon1977 account created 3/7/2021, 3 comments in this thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/NeverendingLearning account created 3/7/2021, 2 comments in this thread, no other comments anywhere ever

u/Mtainman account created 3/7/2021, appears to be deleted now, but this screenshot shows 1 comment here and nothing else anywhere ever

u/Hot_Internet9635 account created 3/7/2021, appears to be deleted now, but this screenshot shows 1 comment here and nothing else anywhere ever

None of you -- with the exception of u/Kareemadvocate -- have ever commented anywhere except this thread. The top 3 of you are all over it, responsible for >12% of the total comments, and ALL of them pushing the main narrative hard. 7 out of the 9 of your accounts were created yesterday.

At no point have any of you acknowledged any kind of coordination or reason for working together, at times getting defensive about it when prompted, but otherwise just claiming that you just came here out of interest in the topic.

Questions for any/all of you:

  • Are your accounts somehow connected or are they not?
    • If not, what are your thoughts about the coincidences listed above?
  • Aside from your concern for the animals, are there any other reasons you're interested in pushing this narrative?

Aside: none of this discredits the idea that animals may be being mistreated or suggests that we shouldn't align against that problem. But I would like these questions answered.

Credit to u/M0n5tr0 for identifying the suspicious accounts and taking screenshots.

For anyone pondering what reason astroturfing groups might have to target an organization like HSUS, u/bittens offers an interesting speculation on the topic.

EDIT 1: a word

EDIT 2: 1 hour ago I posted this comment, noting how strange it was that all 7 of the super active accounts listed here went radio silent for ~8hr after being tagged in this comment. 15 minutes after pointing that out, I noticed that u/Frankiegrrl is active again! What a coincidence!

Someone on here suggested a subreddit for this topic. Being new here thanks to hearing about it on FB, im not sure what that means but sounds like a great idea to me!

Thanks for conveniently referencing the fact that you discovered this AMA through FB u/Frankiegrrl. I'm curious: are you in any way coordinating with the other users listed above or the OP?

Also it looks like u/Mtainman and u/Hot_Internet9635 are both back from the dead! glad your accounts are active again. Would you be so kind as to answer the same questions?

EDIT 3: Still no direct reply from any of the accounts I have tagged, despite 2 of them being active again. u/Kareemadvocate has now started posting comments claiming that he/she is also "one of the 22 original whistleblowers." This new development doesn't seem consistent with OP's claim that none of the accounts are connected to them.

u/Kareemadvocate why are you asking the OPs all sorts of questions in this thread as though you are a stranger if you are already connected to them as a fellow whistleblower who "has been with them from the beginning"? Why not disclose that information upfront? Why do the OP's claim that your account is not connected to them? Is u/FrankieGrrl also one of the whistleblowers?

EDIT 4: u/HSUSWhistleblower Hi Crystal and Lindsay. In an earlier post, you claimed that none of the above accounts are connected. However after a quick google search, I found this facebook page where the top post is "Donny Moss is with Lindsay Vanderhoogt and Crystal Alba," which suggests that u/DonnyMoss is indeed connected to you. This comes shortly after u/Kareemadvocate began claiming to be one of the 22 whistleblowers, which would also constitute a connection.

So I'm asking again: are these accounts connected to your knowledge, or aren't they?

I would genuinely like to talk about this. My goal is not to counteract your efforts or refute your claim of animal abuse. But you have to admit there is seemingly coordinated activity from these brand new accounts going on, and it makes complete sense people would want to know why. This is a very common pattern for how misinformation gets pushed on reddit, and the community (myself included) has grown sensitive to it. I'd like to have a conversation about what is going on with those accounts. Will you please reply?

HSUSWhistleblower90 karma

We absolutely promoted this AMA on our public social media pages and encouraged people to participate, even if they were new to Reddit. So I’m not at all surprised there are new accounts commenting.

The only connected account is this one, which is being shared by me and Lindsay.

What on earth would our reason be for “pushing this narrative”? We have gained nothing personally from this ordeal. I can’t even imagine a hypothetical in which we would.

I spent almost all of my 3 years at this sanctuary watching blatant neglect of the chimps I cared so much for while leadership refused to do anything about it. HSUS refused to take our pleas seriously. Two of the chimps have died in the past year as a result of that neglect. Keeping more of them from dying is my personal agenda and it’s a time sensitive issue.

One chimp suffered for days before he was finally sedated. He was covered in dried vomit, his urine was dark brown, and he was jaundiced. When he was finally sedated, he was mostly dead. And the vet didn’t know how to intubate him and couldn’t find an oxygen mask.

One of my favorite chimps had rapidly dropped weight in a matter of weeks and we knew when he came from the lab that he had elevated liver values. I have so many emails and formal reports I filed stating how concerned I was and begging someone to take action. He died in January. Over a year after I originally began expressing concerns.

These are our friends we’re watching languish and die.

Edit: as for hiring a PR firm, well, I (Crystal) work full time and make $12/hr while also going to school full time. Hiring anyone for anything isn’t possible for me, let alone a PR team. I went back to school to finish pre-requisites for vet school for the sole purpose of making a bigger difference in improving sanctuary care when I graduate with crippling debt. My motivation will always be trying to help them.

Kareemadvocate419 karma

Why haven’t the accrediting bodies been more proactive in sorting out this place?

HSUSWhistleblower513 karma

Crystal: So it turns out the accrediting body, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, is also controlled by HSUS. GFAS came to do an inspection while I still worked there, after I had emailed them detailed concerns. While at Project Chimps, the GFAS inspectors told me they found several problems and didn't censor their thoughts on the sanctuary. However, an official report was never released. They quietly helped their fellow HSUS organization make some changes here and there while publicly maintaining the whistleblowers were liars. You can see how we've compiled all the accreditation violations here.

multihobbyist258 karma

This is exactly why it needs to be illegal for places to be able to investigate themselves. From cops to chimps to fucking anything.

HSUSWhistleblower113 karma

Yes, there needs to be a truly nonbiased outside organization to conduct oversight.

Kareemadvocate76 karma

No official report from GFAS was ever released??

HSUSWhistleblower163 karma

Lindsay: No. The report was never released to the public from GFAS. We believe that this could have something to do with the fact that many of the whistleblower complaints were validated by GFAS's findings.

HSUSWhistleblower43 karma

Crystal: No report, although we requested it multiple times. They only released a brief statement supporting Project Chimps. Even though they were required to make changes that the whistleblowers originally asked for.

ElianaEvangeline114 karma

What can we do to raise awareness? How can we help?

These chimps deserve a good retirement. My heart felt broken reading this.

HSUSWhistleblower124 karma

Crystal: Thank you for wanting to help! That's all we're asking of anyone. I would suggest following us on FB and Insta (Chimps Deserve Better) as we will routinely post calls to action for how you can help. They're all very simple. The most recent was a selfie campaign with people holding signs telling HSUS to change Project Chimps. It was very successful and got a rise out of HSUS, who started spamming my instagram.

HSUSWhistleblower57 karma

Lindsay: Thank you so much for wanting to raise awareness. The chimps need people like you to spread the word so that more attention can be brought to the issue. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under the name Chimps Deserve Better. We've been sharing a lot of action steps and ways the public can support this cause and raise awareness for the chimps. Staying tuned to our social media is a great way to get engaged. You can also join our partners Progress For Science, Do The Right Thing, and Their Turn for more information.

invisible76072 karma

What do you feel was the root cause of why the animals weren’t appropriately cared for? Cost? Ignorance? Disdain?

HSUSWhistleblower184 karma

Crystal: this is something we've asked ourselves a lot. At this point, we feel that HSUS is making a ton of money on the backs of these chimps. They're bringing in more money than ever, yet care is steadily declining. Meanwhile, the sanctuary is operating as a tourist attraction with AirBnB chimp experiences, weddings, etc. All while nothing improves for the chimps.

Ambry59 karma

Hi Crystal, do they take steps to disguise the conditions the chimps are in when people come for these experiences? Are they making lots of money from them?

HSUSWhistleblower155 karma

Crystal: Thank you for asking this! YES. They absolutely have a "tour mode" when people are visiting. They put an interactive chimp group in the habitat (even if it means skipping another group's habitat day) and they station people at windows along the habitat wall to throw treats over and lure the chimps to the windows. Visitors aren't allowed behind the scenes in the failing buildings to see the chimps' stress behaviors and actual living conditions. If someone were visiting, I would recommend asking "What are the rest of the chimps? What are they doing since they're not outside? When do they go outside again? How do you keep them occupied inside buildings for days on end?" You just have to get past the smoke and mirrors.

HSUSWhistleblower76 karma

Lindsay: Yes. 100%. Project Chimps charges people for private tours and if you're able to pay enough, they'll allow you access to areas that are typically off-limits to the public. When they know they have a celebrity guest or an inspector coming, they will purposefully change their care practices to look better. Keep in mind these changes aren't made for the chimps, they're made because there's money on the line.

sadisticfreak8 karma

Where is the money actually going, if not to the chimps care?

HSUSWhistleblower25 karma

It's a mystery, but tax records showing money flowing between Project Chimps and HSUS. And HSUS' tax records show millions sitting in offshore accounts.

HSUSWhistleblower56 karma

Lindsay: Oh man, what a good, complicated question. From my experience, one of the biggest problems is the lack of chimp experience among the leadership at the sanctuary. When the leadership doesn't have a passion for chimp care, they need to look to their employees and chimp care team to understand any issues the chimps may be experiencing. Unfortunately, concerns about chimp health and welfare have fallen on deaf ears. In my personal experience, any concerns that the care staff had were not taken seriously. Care staff who work directly with the chimps feel powerless and that their voices are not heard. This has led to high staff turnover and a lack of knowledgeable, experienced people on the care staff. However, we believe if knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate leadership was installed, the sanctuary could turn around for the better.

FrankieGrrl36 karma

How has HSUS answered your allegations? Have they met with you two personally to discuss?

HSUSWhistleblower106 karma

This is Crystal: sadly HSUS has refused to speak to any of the whistleblowers, despite our efforts to engage them. They've taken a stance that we're lying about everything without ever having spoken to any of us.

HSUSWhistleblower83 karma

Great question. From the beginning we've wanted to meet with HSUS/Project Chimps leadership to discuss concerns, but we've been denied every opportunity. We've sent letters, emails, created social media posts, etc., but we've never been given an opportunity to speak with them or to have a productive conversation.

DonnyMoss14 karma

Why did the HSUS sanctuary drop the lawsuit if they stand by their statements that the whistleblowers are wrong?

HSUSWhistleblower89 karma

There was a LOT of public backlash from their supporters and I think the fact that we raised so much money so quickly for our defense caught them off guard. Lindsay and I are both students with no money. So something like that could've crippled us if the public hadn't helped.

alexanderpas24 karma

Have you considered sueing them for Libel/Slander?

HSUSWhistleblower51 karma

Crystal: sadly we don't have the money to sue anyone. We've already raised around $30k to defend ourselves in the lawsuit and the stress literally nearly killed us. We feel the best approach is to keep applying pressure and raising awareness. We just want positive outcomes for the chimps.

DonnyMoss21 karma

The chimps have access to the outdoors about twice/week for 10 hours in total. Why is that? What should it be?

HSUSWhistleblower137 karma

Crystal: For comparison, great apes in zoos have daily outdoor access to a natural habitat. At this sanctuary, they're only outdoors a handful of hours per week. The rest of that time is spent in barren concrete enclosures.

Kareemadvocate60 karma

That is disturbing, because when you look at the PC website it makes it seem like they are outside all day long.

HSUSWhistleblower114 karma

Crystal: exactly. And I took all of those beautiful photos of the chimps outdoors enjoying the habitat. Part of my job was the official photographer for the sanctuary and I was "talked to" multiple times about not taking any photos that show caging or dirty floors. I was always instructed to get photos that made it look like the chimps are always outdoors, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Sxilla25 karma

Since some of the financial supporters and BoD are celebrities, does HSUS have the funding to make the changes to provide these chimpanzees enriching lives and habitats, and they just choose not to do so?

HSUSWhistleblower50 karma

Crystal: that's correct. They absolutely have more than enough funding to fix the problems. But I fear their motivation has always been to make money for themselves, using the chimps as bait.

HSUSWhistleblower54 karma

Lindsay: The infrastructure of the outdoor habitat is a concern. As it is currently, there is only one 6-acre yard that has been segmented so different groups can rotate in the yards. Unfortunately, one 6-acre yard is not enough space for every group of chimps to receive daily outdoor access. The sanctuary needs to prioritize building more outdoor areas so that more chimps can engage in more naturalistic behaviors in the outdoors, such as foraging for food and patrolling their territory.

jochillin27 karma

Do you have no idea how big 6 acres is? I’m no expert but based on every zoo I’ve seen that’s plenty of room for that many chimps to have daily time, that’s 2,500 square feet per chimp if they’re ALL out, much more if going in groups. Seriously, that’s a huge fucking “yard”. Sorry but the shady astroturfing fake accounts you guys hit this ama with make me distrustful, then obviously weird things like saying 264,000 square feet is a small enclosure, I honestly don’t know who to trust.

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Lindsay: Here's the thing about the outdoor yard - yes it's 6 acres, but it's been split so that different groups can rotate at different times. There are 77 chimps at the sanctuary but they're in separate groups. The yard has been split into two for 6 different chimp groups to use. You can't just throw different groups of chimps together into the same space and expect things to go well. Chimps are highly complex, political, and emotional beings. The groups have to rotate through the different habitats which limits how many chimps have access to the outdoor habitat at one time. The issue isn't the space within the yard, the issue is how often the chimps are given access to the yards.

markbenero35 karma

if you look at some of the top quality sanctuaries in north america - it can be most of the day, especially in warmer climates. care often taken about groups and which chimps are in which groups - and moving them in and out of their outdoor area when they need vet checks or care. at sanctuaries in africa, for chimps and for bonobos, also often majority of the day/daylight, especially in good weather. At Center for Great Apes (in xxxxxx Florida, the chimps and orangutans there have "night housing" inside - and outside large (very large) areas areas with all kinds of stimulation, climbing, tires/ropes, trees, toys....they are out during the day - but often go inside (their own choice) in rain or storms. They tell a story there that one orangutan who had been held inside for years in a cage - at the first rain - just sat outside in it to feel the rain. The inside spaces/night houses are heated in winter and have big fans in summer. Sometimes in bright moonlight in warmer season they go outside. you can see a video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtij0QioWdU I have visited CGR 3x. Amazing. At Lola La Bonobo in Congo outside Kinshasha, it is similar. Of course always warm there on the equator but the bonobos make a light of noise in the early morning at sunrise just after 6am - to be let out. and go back in to sleep in their night hammocks in the evening. So lots of outdoor time.

HSUSWhistleblower46 karma

Crystal: Lindsay and I are both huge supporters of the Center for Great Apes. It's a wonderful sanctuary that absolutely prioritizes the care of their apes. It's a shining example to other facilities.

JerkyFingers18 karma

I have done limited volunteer work with non-humane primates. It’s my understanding that ALL sanctuaries in the US are woefully under funded, and despite the abundance of labs that use primates research, “retirement” facilities are basically non-existent.

Do you agree with this statement?

Do you have any ideas for how we can raise awareness for this issue?

HSUSWhistleblower38 karma

Many sanctuaries are underfunded. Project Chimps is not. It's operated by perhaps the wealthiest "animal welfare" organization in the world. They're just not properly directing funds. We're on FB and Instagram as Chimps Deserve Better. I suggest either sharing our documentation or participating in our calls to action. It's all easy stuff.

scripsher14 karma

I'm hearing about preventable chimp deaths occurring at Project Chimps as a result of poor vet care and lack of adequate leadership. Can you speak a bit to this topic and provide some details? Thank you.

HSUSWhistleblower96 karma

Crystal: unfortunately you are correct. I personally begged for intervention on behalf of Alex, an older male chimp with sudden drastic weight loss, elevated liver values (on his pre-transport physical), and was repeatedly told to let it go. No physical was ever planned for him and no attempts made to find the cause of his sudden weight loss. He died in January.

Tibi also died in 2020, after only a few months at the sanctuary. He died covered in vomit, in pain, urinating brown, and he was completely yellow. He had hepatitis that was not monitored or treated at Project Chimps. In fact, Project Chimps maintains he never had hepatitis. I do have his testing records that prove his positive status.

Koompa14 karma

I've never understood trying to silence whistleblowers. You are basically just admitting the whistleblowers are right??

HSUSWhistleblower26 karma

Crystal: that's correct. It was not a good look and many people called them out on it. They came for us with multiple attorneys and we were VERY fortunate to raise enough money to get our own stellar representation.

Bodobodo4 karma

Is this the first instance of HSUS trying to silence whistleblowers or are there previous examples?

HSUSWhistleblower20 karma

Crystal: the former President of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, was accused by multiple women of sexual assault. HSUS denied everything, paid off the whistleblowers, quietly let Pacelle go and moved on.

ivebeen_there12 karma

What changes would you say are your priorities?

Also, I just want to say thank you for bringing attention to this situation! Too many people vilify zoos while blindly supporting places like this. I firmly believe that animals can live happy lives in human care, but it has to be done right, I hope you guys can make a difference here for these chimps.

HSUSWhistleblower27 karma

Crystal: I totally agree with you. Just speaking for myself here, but I fully support accredited zoos. If nothing else, they are held to incredibly high standards by the AZA and have experienced staff and leadership. I feel like too many sanctuaries get away with neglect because "but we're a sanctuary." It's a huge problem that needs to be addressed. Since we came forward, we've heard from so many people at other chimp sanctuaries who are experiencing similar problems.

HSUSWhistleblower19 karma

Lindsay: The main issues that need to be addressed are the quality of veterinary care being provided, access to the outdoors, and the leadership. The veterinary care provided to the chimps must include preventative exams such as echocardiograms. Heart disease is the number one killer of captive chimps and it's essential that the sanctuary keep a close eye on any health concerns. However, based on our experience, this hasn't been maintained. These chimps have been retired from medical research and have the health conditions to prove it. Part of providing the highest quality of care to these chimps involves understanding what medical conditions they arrive with and how those medical conditions can be monitored and controlled. Access to the outdoors is another main concern. These chimps deserve way more than only 10 hours of outdoor access every week, but that's all they receive now. Project Chimps needs to prioritize building more outdoor habitats so that the chimps can receive daily outdoor access. Lastly, leadership is the main issue at the sanctuary. Without knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate leadership, we don't expect to see much improvement at the sanctuary.

VeganJordan11 karma

I feel HSUS has always been about $$$ over actually helping animals. Not to mention the massive amounts of employee abuse & sexual harassment. Wayne Pacelle, Paul Shapiro, etc. I know your intention here is to focus on the chimps, but I’m also curious to hear more about what the general work life was like as well. Is the general workplace environment toxic? I know lots of orgs have kind, caring and compassionate people & volunteers who overwork themselves in the “lower ranks”. Is that the case here and it’s mainly just toxic upper management?

HSUSWhistleblower28 karma

Crystal: Oh man, GREAT question. So the current director of Project Chimps took over right when the Pacelle stuff went public. She called us all in for a meeting, told us not to publicly comment on the situation, and said that "it's probably just a rah rah sisterhood making it all up anyway." That really set the tone for working under her. It is an incredibly toxic environment. I can't emphasize that enough. It's mostly leadership (none of whom have chimp experience) but it trickles down to the caregivers too and sets a distinct culture. The volunteers' hearts are in the right place, but many of them refuse to believe any of the evidence and speak up. After I left the facility, I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The lawsuit REALLY helped that.

WhitechapelPrime8 karma

How long have you all know how suspect HS was? My wife and I adopted a cat from them. Was told it was disease free and fixed. Three days after bringing her home the kitty puked a lot and had some weird stuff in it. Turns out, not disease free at all. Spent a lot of money trying to save that kitty to no avail. I still hate the HS for it.

HSUSWhistleblower24 karma

Crystal: I'm so sorry to hear about your cat! So it turns out HSUS isn't controlling the small shelters across the country, even if they have "Humane Society" in the name. They truly depend on funding from the public and get nothing from HSUS.

realsonic6 karma

I'm super late to this, but seeing as to how bringing the court of public opinion by tagging celebrity BoDs isn't working, have you considered making a documentary project and possibly having it streamed through Netfix or a similar platform? I sure as heck didn't know much about the plight of illegally owned big cats until Tiger King.

HSUSWhistleblower7 karma

We’d love to make that happen if we knew how. There’s so much information to wade through and this would be a great way to make it more digestible.

PaddleMonkey6 karma

Could you teach out to Jane Goodall for assistance?

Maybe some people here can reach out to u/janegoodall_official or someone there managing the account to lend a hand. She had an AMA done 3 years ago with her and her team

HSUSWhistleblower2 karma

Lindsay: Reaching out to Jane is definitely something we should consider. Thank you for the suggestion!

Exov3 karma

I’m sure I don’t know the behind the scenes of all that goes on, but I couldn’t imagine Goodall not being supportive of this cause, in my own opinion.

Reddit is a great place to start, but it can only reach so many people.

Have you guys done seminars at schools? I know a few people personally who are very passionate and going into majors that correlate with your cause and more than likely would volunteer if given the chance.

HSUSWhistleblower2 karma

Lindsay: Giving a seminar is a really good idea and something we haven't done yet. If you can think of a school or program that might be interested, please send us a message!

Gryphon19776 karma

Are there any updated reports about Gertrude’s cancer update and health? I saw a photographic post on your instagram profile about her and lack of expertise veterinary attention. Side note-no question: Concerned about placing the chimpanzees from the Wildlife Waystation - funds needed for new placements-some had been tested on..our friends that have been the most traumatized need the most support and follow up care. Infuriated to read the article from NY Times article-the us needs more monkeys for laboratories https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/23/business/covid-vaccine-monkeys.html

HSUSWhistleblower11 karma

Crystal: No updates on Gertrude. Her painful genital abscesses were ignored for years and untreated for years, then it turns out she had cancer. It's infuriating.

HSUSWhistleblower10 karma

Lindsay: Unfortunately, I don't think there has been any update on Gertie's health. As one of the chimps I worked with the most at the sanctuary, I think about her all the time and can only pray that she's receiving the care she needs. Regarding Wildlife Waystation, transporting chimps to another facility can be extremely stressful. I applaud the sanctuaries that have stepped up to home the chimps waiting to be relocated from WW. Many people have asked us if we want the chimps currently at Project Chimps to be relocated, but we believe that with knowledgeable leadership, the sanctuary can turn around and become a great place for chimps.

Shinylittlelamp5 karma

Do you know what kind of research they were involved in before their ‘retirement’? Thank you for doing this.

HSUSWhistleblower7 karma

Crystal: Yes, I've actually read the full detailed medical history on every single chimp at the sanctuary. They were mostly used for Hepatitis research. Many of them are still Hepatitis positive (I have their testing records) but staff are told that none of the chimps have the virus. Others were used for vaccine development, especially Ebola, Norovirus, and Malaria vaccines. And there were other random studies here and there.

HSUSWhistleblower4 karma

Lindsay: When the chimps arrive at the sanctuary we do get some background info on what kinds of research they've been used in, but it's not a ton of info. From my understanding, many of the chimps were used in vaccine research for Hepatitis and HIV. We can find out more about each chimp's research history by looking at their individual identification numbers.

celibatepete5 karma

Would it be any help to the chimps if you tried reaching out to the financial backers themselves? Particularly the celebs who may be able to bring about more awareness to the situation.

HSUSWhistleblower8 karma

Crystal: we've been doing that and have largely been met with silence. Project Chimps and HSUS reached out to them right when all of this went public and gave their spin. People don't like to hear things like this so they've shut us out. But we hope that continued public awareness will put pressure on the donors that they can't continue to ignore.

Bodobodo3 karma

Is Project Chimps merely stating that you are wrong about your allegations or that you have some other motivation for making these claims?

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Crystal: they've stated both. Originally they were telling people we had our own goals to start our own sanctuary, which is hilarious given how poor we both are. I think they quickly realized that was a bad approach and they switched to "everything is lies."

kevshea4 karma

What were your roles at the sanctuary? Any happiest memories of the chimps to share, even in their neglect?

HSUSWhistleblower18 karma

Crystal: I was a chimpanzee caregiver, the sanctuary photographer, and vet tech. I have so many happy memories. Chimps are amazing. Absolutely amazing. Can they be aggressive? Of course, they're wild animals. But you can build incredible bonds with them (through the safety of a barrier of course.) My happiest memories are with my favorite chimp, Noel. She was my best friend and I can't describe how much I love her. I would often spend my lunchbreaks hanging out with her. I would give her lots of blankets to nest with and she'd always share some of them back with me. She would build her nest, wait for me to build one too, and lay down and nap right beside me. I miss her so much.

HSUSWhistleblower13 karma

Lindsay: Thank you for this question! I was the Programs Assistant and then a Chimp Care Aide. I love every single chimp at the sanctuary, but I admit to having a very special place in my heart for Latricia. I helped welcome her group to the sanctuary and I've always admired her kind but firm leadership style. She is an amazing artist and was known for weaving her blankets through different toys and carrying her creations with her wherever she went. When you work with chimps every day they become your best friends and Trish was no different.

FWFT274 karma

It seems that a quicker way to fix the problems would be a management leadership change, how can this be done?

HSUSWhistleblower9 karma

Crystal: That is one of our big asks. Leadership must be replaced. Currently it breaks down like this:

Executive Director: No primate experience whatsoever. HSUS employee for 10 years.

Chimp Care Manager: No chimpanzee experience. She's worked with orangutans and never held back saying she has no idea what to do with chimps.

Veterinarian: Only did an externship during vet school in a research lab

Facilities Manager: No animal facility experience. Frequently joked about the leaking roofs dumping water into the chimp buildings saying "they all leak by design."

Admin Manager: No animal facility experience. Helped cover up everything and scared the whistleblowers into silence.

HSUSWhistleblower4 karma

Lindsay: We agree 100%. There needs to be leadership in place that is knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate about chimp care. This is not the case currently. We hope that with more public pressure asking HSUS/PC to change leadership, they will do the right thing. However, it will take a LOT of public pressure for them to hear our concerns.

chuk20154 karma

Hey guys - love what you are doing.

Has there been any attempts to use the celebrity status of HSUS board members to springboard this issue into the public more?

I think celebrities supporting this should be name and shamed

HSUSWhistleblower19 karma

Crystal: First, we tried to contact the celebrities privately and requested a meeting to discuss our concerns. 22 of us wrote a letter to the board. They responded saying they wouldn't engage with us.

HSUSWhistleblower15 karma

Lindsay: Great idea. We've definitely tried to reach out to HSUS board members, PC board members, and other celebrity supporters of the sanctuary. In fact, many of the PC board members are celebrities who have no chimp experience. The celebrity connections helped the sanctuary gain prestige early on, but unfortunately none of the board members or celebrity supporters have responded to our concerns.

Kareemadvocate4 karma

Has Jane Goodall visited PC, is she aware of the conditions that the chimps are kept in? I can not imagine someone like her not speaking up for these former research chimps. I seem to recall that she even met some of these chimps when they were still confined to the labs!

HSUSWhistleblower46 karma

Crystal: Project Chimps likes to say they're endorsed by Jane Goodall which is incredibly misleading. She issued a statement of support for the Project Chimps mission before they even had chimps. She has never visited the facility.

Kareemadvocate13 karma

Have you tried reaching out to her directly and sharing all of your documentation with her? I can not imagine that she would ever endorse a place that fails to provide the chimps with daily access to grass and dirt and bushes. Real space for them to to what chimps need to do in order to remain healthy and to have joy in their lives. At this point it looks like they have landed in a place that offers precious little despite all they have given for humans.

HSUSWhistleblower35 karma

Crystal: I do firmly believe Jane Goodall always has the best interest of chimpanzees at heart. It's certainly worth considering reach out to her.

Mtainman4 karma

I assumed you were veterinarians. How long did you work with chimps before being hired at this place?

HSUSWhistleblower5 karma

Crystal: Nope, I went to vet tech school, worked at a wildlife rehab facility, and then went back to school to work in human cardiology and integrative medicine for several years. The human medical experience was incredibly beneficial to me in working with chimps.

My chimp experience prior to coming to Project Chimps? Exactly as much as any person currently on the leadership and veterinary team.

HSUSWhistleblower2 karma

Lindsay: We may not be veterinarians, but that doesn't negate the legitimacy of our concerns. I worked with chimps at the Center for Great Apes and worked on chimp advocacy campaigns for the New England Anti-Vivisection Society before coming to Project Chimps. I was one of the founding staff members of the sanctuary and worked at the sanctuary before there were any chimps.

OceansCarraway4 karma

Why hasn't HSUS realized that if they fixed the problems, none of this would have had to happen?

HSUSWhistleblower9 karma

Crystal: it's the thing that continues to baffle us. It was so easy to avoid the public uproar. I first made a complaint to HSUS in late 2018, via the board vice president who is an HSUS employee. They've known for so long.

HSUSWhistleblower6 karma

Lindsay: I wish I knew the answer. It would seem much easier for them to decide to do the right thing and invest in creating positive change at the sanctuary instead of digging in their heels, but here we are.

jennyisalyingwhore4 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, although it’s unfortunate that this situation is happening in the first place.

Have you tried reaching out to the public for help via TikTok? I think a lot of people, some with millions of followers, would share your calls to action.

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Crystal: That's one of our goals but we're totally new to TikTok and not entirely sure how to best utilize it. Happy for any pointers!

jennyisalyingwhore4 karma

Compiling a list of popular users to reach out to that work at reputable sanctuaries would be a great start. There’s many, and I’m sure a lot of them would support the cause and either create videos or share yours in response.

I can look at who I’m following and DM you a list to of suggestions to start with if that would be helpful!

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

That would be incredibly helpful, thank you!

thatbish924 karma

What happened to the chimp whose teeth were shattered?

That breaks my heart to read. I couldn’t watch the video.

Did whoever record that, help the chimp?

HSUSWhistleblower4 karma

Crystal: I recorded that video and I was fired for sending it to outside welfare groups after no one within the sanctuary would help her. She was given ibuprofen and left to pull all the tooth fragments out on her own over a period of several weeks. It’s completely unforgivable. If your dog presented with broken teeth you’d get them help immediately.

kyleclements3 karma

Are there any companies that provide financial support to HSUS, or assist with fundraising?

If so, it might be an idea to list them so we know who to boycott.

HSUSWhistleblower11 karma

Crystal: Liberty Mutual, TJ Maxx, Hallmark Channel, PVC corporation are all big donors to HSUS. And countless celebrities.

Bodobodo2 karma

Do all major donors do so via HSUS or are there some who donate to Project Chimps exclusively?

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Lindsay: For the large donors, HSUS and PC are basically synonymous. HSUS financially controls Project Chimps, so anytime a large donation comes in, HSUS is the organization that handles it.

tired01234567893 karma

Thank you for everything you do, I’m going to read into this more and become a vocal advocate for the work that you guys are doing. My question is: what type of psychological effects do you see this having on the chimps, and do you think that there will be a time and place where they can become chimps again?

HSUSWhistleblower8 karma

Lindsay: A lack of proper medical care and outdoor access at the sanctuary definitely impacts the chimps' mental health. That's why it's so important to advocate for the chimps to receive the highest quality of care. These chimps have been retired from medical research and will never have the life of a wild chimpanzee. These chimps can never be returned to the wild but we can try to provide the closest thing possible in sanctuary. I believe that when provided high-quality veterinary care, daily outdoor access, specialized diets, and novel enrichment, these chimps can have fulfilling, joyful, and enriching lives. At the end of the day, that's all Crystal and I want for our chimp friends at Project Chimps.

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Crystal: Thank you so much for reading this and being willing to advocate. Sadly, a lot of the chimps develop new abnormal behaviors after coming to the sanctuary, being crammed into overcrowded buildings and incompatible groups, and being denied outdoors access. Chimps who never plucked their hair previously are now mostly bald, chimps who never rocked in response to stress do so now, and nearly every single chimp there engages in coprophagia.

As far as when they arrive from the lab, they'll have some stereotypies like rocking or hair plucking. But it's not too common.

With leadership who knows chimps and prioritizes their needs, it could be an amazing facility.

DoctorExperimental3 karma

Have you reached out to media outlets about this? It seems like something that would make for a great in depth segment on Last Week Tonight.

HSUSWhistleblower6 karma

Crystal: we've reached out to some but everyone has been hesitant to speak out against HSUS, which is part of the entire problem. I've always wanted John Oliver to cover this, but no idea how to make it happen. It's the exact outlet this needs to get the right attention though.

FrankieGrrl3 karma

How often are the chimps given health evaluations? And how do they decide what special diets each chimp gets for their individual conditions?

HSUSWhistleblower7 karma

Lindsay: The chimps don't receive regular health evaluations. The sanctuary responds in emergency situations and doesn't practice preventative health exams for the chimps. Chimps have died at this sanctuary from health conditions that should have been monitored and prevented. The sanctuary doesn't provide specialized diets even though there are chimps are the sanctuary that should be receiving diets curated to their unique health needs.

HSUSWhistleblower4 karma

Crystal: Prior to us going public the answer was "never." In the 3+ years I was there, there was never a routine health evaluation for any chimp at the sanctuary. Suddenly, they did several this year "but definitely not in response to the whistleblowers because they're still liars." In doing so, they found numerous health problems that they could've caught much earlier had they been proactive. There are no individualized diets.

superkt33 karma

Crystal! I remember you from a FB group you used to post pics and videos of those beautiful chimps it always made my day. It breaks my heart to think that they are suffering. Does the HSUS have a governing body or anything that people can appeal to?

HSUSWhistleblower6 karma

Apparently they answer to no one, which is very frustrating. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed my chimp photos and videos! I miss sharing updates about them. It was a hard decision to choose to fight for them or stay and watch them suffer.

chibinoi3 karma

In light of these awful situations, should we be concerned with giving financial support to The Humane Society of United States in general? Does the funding actually go to the claims the organization says it does, or do they spend it on massive “overhead fees” which aren’t detailed? Is transparency for where the money goes something the Humane Society is willing to come forward with, or have they been resistant? Thanks!

HSUSWhistleblower47 karma

Crystal: HSUS has terrible ratings with charity watchdog sites. I would absolutely not support them financially. Support your local shelters instead. HSUS does not control local shelters, even if "humane society" is in the name. Please help them out with your donations. If you want to help primates, I highly recommend the Center for Great Apes, Ape Initiative, or Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue.

HSUSWhistleblower28 karma

Lindsay: If you want to support Project Chimps but are concerned about how your donations will be used, I definitely recommend checking out their Amazon wish list and purchasing enrichment items for the chimps. We would never ask someone not to donate to Project Chimps, but it's important that donors are able to share their concerns and make sure that their money is spent the way the donor wants it to be spent.

DonnyMoss3 karma

Do you know if and how HSUS made any upgrades to this facility as a result of the work you have done to expose the mistreatment?

HSUSWhistleblower12 karma

Crystal: they've made some changes here and there as they were forced to by GFAS. They've been very quiet about these changes. And if they do comment they're careful to say "this has nothing to do with the whistleblowers, who are definitely liars." or something to that effect. But we're glad it's a small step in the right direction.

KennyBlankeenship3 karma

I know you guys probably have a thousand other things to do, but would you consider making a Help The Chimps subreddit so people who don't use Facebook or Twitter can keep up with the effort? I think animals are one of the most popular topics on reddit. Mostly peoples' pets but people care about animals here.

HSUSWhistleblower5 karma

We could give it a shot. Just not sure if there's enough interest in the topic (unfortunately.)

Vegan_Mari3 karma

Hey, I want to say thanks for your courage and efforts, and putting the well-being of the chimps first. I know you’ve sacrificed a lot and it has all affected your mental health. I really admire you and know the chimps would be so grateful for what you are doing for them.

I have a hard time understanding the people in charge of the decisions and the celebrities and higher ups that support them. These are people that have helped animals in some way or another or have dedicated their lives and careers to helping animals, vegan celebrities that seem to really care about animals, etc. How can they ignore evidence presented to them? Why wouldn’t they question any of the official statements? Why wouldn’t they see the support and pressure from the public and at least take 5 minutes to look into things? Why not even give you the chance to talk to them for 5 minutes to hear directly from you? Is it purely money and status? When you get to that point of being rich and famous do you stop caring? It just blows my mind. I can’t comprehend it.

If I were a celebrity supporter of an organization or sanctuary, SPECIALLY if I had let them use my image and financially and vocally supported them and someone who worked there came out and wanted to talk to me and show me evidence that there is something wrong and the animals could be suffering or not properly being cared for I would want to listen, I would want to say...hey I’ve supported this sanctuary but it has come to my attention that they are not doing enough, they need to be held accountable! What’s so hard about doing that?!

It makes me wonder how many organizations and sanctuaries know about these types of situations and don’t say anything, or how many actually are similar or worse.

What are some ways we can be as sure as we can be that we are supporting good and ethical organizations and sanctuaries?

HSUSWhistleblower4 karma

Crystal: it's so hard to know which sanctuaries are worthy of your support. I think looking at their social media and asking questions is a good start. For example, back when Project Chimps had competent leadership their posts were extremely educational about chimpanzee behavior, wellness, enrichment, etc. Now it's all cutesy posts with nothing informative.

As far as primate sanctuaries, Center for Great Apes, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue, Ape Initiative are all stellar and will put your money to good use. Especially Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue, operated by the two most amazing people on earth. They're doing so much with so little. Not to be confused with HSUS' chimp sanctuary in Liberia, similarly named and terribly run.

TheRoseChair3 karma

Do you have any advice for other whistleblowers?

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Of course - check your organization’s whistleblower policy. Document every single interaction as thoroughly as possible. Make every attempt to handle matters internally before seeking outside help.

Balcil3 karma

Did some of these chimps have better lives at the research facility they lived at before? I don’t know the average conditions at a research facility.

HSUSWhistleblower8 karma

They did and that’s the biggest problem. They’re moving to a sanctuary providing worse care than the lab, when they should be striving to do better.

Jaszuni3 karma

Being as generous as you can, what did the lawsuit allege and what is the Humane Society arguing?

HSUSWhistleblower8 karma

The lawsuit alleged that we essentially spread lies and made them lose donors. They wanted immediate possession of our personal phones and computers (which wasn’t granted.) And they filled out several pages saying how we made everything up and we’re not qualified to work there. Which is especially funny since they promoted me twice.

reessa2 karma

I used to work at a call centre that did the customer service for HSUS. I’ve always thought it was pretty much a scam that took advantage of older people with the relentless amount of mail sent out. The canvassers on the street would also usually lie about what people were signed up for, monthly payments instead of a one time donation. When donors would call to complain about the CEOs wage (close to 500 k I believe) we had to tell them it’s only less than 1% of all donations. Do you believe that in actuality HSUS is a for profit organization rather than the non profit they claim to be?

HSUSWhistleblower2 karma

That’s so disgusting. And definitely lines right up with what we’ve learned about HSUS.

Nitemarex2 karma

How Sus is HSUS really?

HSUSWhistleblower4 karma

Lindsay: I'd say pretty fucking sus.

ruinevil2 karma

What do you expect? HSUS and PETA are animal rights organizations, and they basically don’t want humans interacting with animals for any reason. They would rather kill animals than allow them to be pets or laboratory animals. ASPCA is probably better, but only around NYC.

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Actually, HSUS encourages the public to interact with the chimps. The President of HSUS even wrote a blog post about a chimp who was having a psychological episode was "dancing" just for her during a visit to Project Chimps.

chikenugets2 karma

Hmm yes very humane of the "humane society" can we file a lawsuit about their name being false advertisement?

HSUSWhistleblower5 karma

Lindsay: I'm all for someone else taking that on. I think Crystal and I might be a little lawsuited-out at this point lol

Eddy_Hopper2 karma

What federal agencies oversee this type of operation? You mention OSHA, but certainly the Department of Agriculture could have a say,, and maybe even Justice. Do you foresee any changes with the new administration?

HSUSWhistleblower5 karma

Crystal: it's honestly mind blowing that HSUS won't just replace leadership. It makes us even more certain that there's a lot of suspicious business behind the scenes here. They really have no oversight. The Dep of Ag has been useless as an oversight agency for a long time. Countless reports of them passing animal facilities and then those facilities later getting shut down.

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Lindsay: No, I don't think we'll see much impact on the sanctuary from the new presidential administration. Since the Humane Society of the United States is the direct controlling entity, the majority of power rests in their hands.

Zebiko2 karma

I view most major charity organizations as just businesses that get special privileges from the government. They are in fact making profits, otherwise they wouldn't exist in their current form. Would you agree with this with the humane society?

HSUSWhistleblower8 karma

Yes, I definitely agree with that. It’s not just Project Chimps. Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue has had major issues with hsus not caring the chimps at the sanctuary they operate in Liberia. All the offshore accounts. They’re definitely motivated by money.

Kareemadvocate1 karma

Has the autopsy report from Alex been released yet?

HSUSWhistleblower3 karma

Lindsay: Unfortunately no.

HSUSWhistleblower2 karma

Crystal: no, nothing at all. It was a sad end for a chimp who gave over 30 years of his life to medical research

DonnyMoss1 karma

What might motivate HSUS to increase animal welfare standards at this facility?

HSUSWhistleblower11 karma

Crystal: so far, we've found that public pressure has been our best approach. Contacting them, getting their copy/paste reply, and then challenging them with specific questions is a good approach. As well as tagging them on social media.

HSUSWhistleblower6 karma

Lindsay: So far we've found that the most motivating factor for HSUS is public pressure. When they feel that their donors or supporters are raising concerns, that's when they take action. They don't seem to be motivated by simply doing the right thing for the chimps. They need to know their source of funding or support is in jeopardy in order to take action. That's why it's so important for donors or supporters of Project Chimps or HSUS to raise their concerns.

m0ondoggy1 karma

Can you make people aware the American Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States are different organizations and explain the difference? I feel like the former bears the brunt of the latter all too often.

HSUSWhistleblower8 karma

Lindsay: Yes, these are separate organizations. Your local humane society is usually not associated with the Humane Society of the United States. We are talking specifically about the Humane Society of the United States, which is the direct controlling entity of the Project Chimps sanctuary.

rottencakes1 karma

Why do you think this is happening? Is it lack of funding? Lack of caring? Why would anyone spend their lives working for an animal advocacy organization if they thought these situations were acceptable?

HSUSWhistleblower9 karma

It's not a lack of funding, for sure. The tax returns for HSUS and Project Chimps are public and worth a look. I believe both are on ProPublica. It's just a business to them, that's the problem.

chemicalinhalation1 karma

What kind of structural changes will need to be made to the facility? Td;lr, please

HSUSWhistleblower16 karma

Crystal: Increase the outdoor habitat space by adding fencing. Add substrate to the concrete floors. Stop overcrowding chimps in tiny buildings. Fix drainage problems. Add lighting. Just to name a few.

HSUSWhistleblower7 karma

Td;lr, please

Lindsay: Creating more outdoor spaces so that the chimps can receive daily outdoor access is a priority. The sanctuary has close to 250 acres of land, however only 6 acres is currently being used for one outdoor habitat, which must be split between all chimp groups. The sanctuary needs to invest in developing more of their land into outdoor habitats so that all the chimps can have daily habitat access. In terms of the structure of the sanctuary's leadership, the chimps need people in power who are knowledgeable about chimp care, experienced in working with chimps, and are passionate about providing the absolute best for the chimps in their care. That's not the case currently at the sanctuary.

starship171 karma

Hi Lindsay and Crystal! Thank you for spreading awareness. Crystal, did you used to post videos of the chimps in a podcast-themed animal discussion group on Facebook? If that was you, it’s obvious how much you loved the chimps. I was devastated for you when you were fired and not allowed to say goodbye.

Do you think the best outcome would be HSUS changing how they care for the animals, or having them all rehomed to zoos or better sanctuaries?

HSUSWhistleblower16 karma

Crystal: YES, that was me! The chimps were like my family members. I wasn't allowed to say goodbye to them. I was literally pulled away from them in the middle of playing chase with my favorite chimp. It was horrible.

Project Chimps could be an amazing sanctuary. They just need leadership who actually care about the chimps' welfare rather than lining their pockets. The best outcome might be HSUS pulling out altogether and letting an entirely new staff start over.

FrankieGrrl1 karma

Does Kat Von D who is a big Project Chimps supporter- she has a lipstick color for them - know about the problems at the sanctuary? What does she say?

HSUSWhistleblower16 karma

Lindsay: We have tried multiple times in different ways to reach out to Kat. I personally gave her the tour when she came to the sanctuary and have tried to reach out to her on my own, but it all seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

HSUSWhistleblower15 karma

Crystal: she has repeatedly ignored our pleas for intervention

Kareemadvocate0 karma

Is PC an outlier in the chimp sanctuary community?

HSUSWhistleblower6 karma

Crystal: There are several sanctuaries with similar problems. And there are good sanctuaries. It turns out the good sanctuaries have known for a while that Project Chimps was riddled with problems and they chose to keep silent, as they are continuing to do now. One of the problems is that they insisted on taking in too many chimps far too quickly to bring in donations. But none of that seemed to go towards chimp care.

HSUSWhistleblower6 karma

Lindsay: Yes and no. There is no such thing as a perfect sanctuary. Every place deals with its own issues and problems, however in my experience, leadership is pivotal. When a CEO or executive director is humble enough to listen to their care staff, take suggestions, and prioritize chimp care above all else, major issues like preventative deaths are avoided. I look to the Center for Great Apes as a fantastic example of how a sanctuary is supposed to be. The great apes' health and wellbeing are always the most important. I wish Project Chimps would follow suit.

likesupernova220 karma

so basically these people are the tiger king of chimps, profiting off these animals at their great expence. how can we help being this to light?

HSUSWhistleblower11 karma

Lindsay: Thank you so much for wanting to raise awareness. The chimps need people like you to spread the word so that more attention can be brought to the issue. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter under the name Chimps Deserve Better. We've been sharing a lot of action steps and ways the public can support this cause and raise awareness for the chimps. Staying tuned to our social media is a great way to get engaged. You can also join our partners Progress For Science, Do The Right Thing, and Their Turn for more information.

odinsvalhalla-3 karma

If you are making a case against HSUS what will the be outcome that you want? Personally i think this animal experimentation thing is fucking disgraceful, no animal should be tortured for anything, i can NOT see how anyone can do this to any animal, if i got cancer i would certainly not want anyone to research anything on any animal to make me better, i would take that cancer and so be it, fine yes test things on other humans if they want to but not animals, they can not give consent or volunteer or whatever, i could go on and on all day about this stuff so i will stop here, thanks in advance.

HSUSWhistleblower18 karma

Crystal: It's important to keep in mind that chimpanzees are no longer used for invasive research. They're essentially retired in place at the labs, where they have outdoor access, experienced vet care, and live in social groups. That said, we are advocating for sanctuaries. But it has to be done right. You can't just say "at least they're at a sanctuary" if the sanctuary isn't providing good care. HSUS brings in millions each year. They have the funding to fix this problem. They just don't have the motivation.

HSUSWhistleblower11 karma

Lindsay: Ultimately, we would like to be able to share our concerns with the leadership at Project Chimps/HSUS and engage in a productive conversation about how the quality of care can be improved at the sanctuary. As former employees who worked at this sanctuary, we have knowledge and perspective that hasn't been considered by those in power. Our only mission is to make sure our chimp friends receive the highest quality of care, and one step in making that happen would be to discuss our concerns and ideas with those in power so that positive change can be made at the sanctuary.

FrankieGrrl-7 karma

From what i understand, the sanctuary has hundreds of acres of land, if this is true then why don’t the chimps get outdoor access everyday all day? They are a hugely wealthy organization with the money for staff and infrastructure afterall. Makes no sense to me.

HSUSWhistleblower63 karma

Crystal: Right, I believe they have over 200 acres total and only 6 acres are for the 77 chimps who live there (and more on the way.) When they're publicly asked about this, Project Chimps uses it as an opportunity to ask for more donations so they can get more chimps outdoors. But they bring in millions every year, not even accounting for their tourism income. And they still haven't increased outdoor space. But they renovated an old cabin on the property to use as a wedding venue.